SALT LAKE CITY — Hurricane did its part, now it's up to Juan Diego.
The general consensus all season was that 3A powers Hurricane and Juan Diego were headed for a third-straight clash in the state championship. With its 38-7 victory over Delta Thursday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Hurricane officially punched its ticket to the party.
Juan Diego will get its chance today when it takes on Judge in the other semifinal.
"I want Juan Diego. They're a great team. They beat us twice in a row for a state championship, it's always nice to get a little bit of vengeance on somebody," said Hurricane lineman Daniel Nielsen. "I respect them though, great program. It will be a good game no matter who comes out."
There wasn't much drama about Hurricane taking care of its business.
It led 13-0 four minutes into the game after running just three offensive plays. Trey Smith put the Tigers ahead 7-0 on a 45-yard touchdown run and then Jarom Healey made it 13-0 on a 38-yard burst.
Before halftime, Hurricane tacked on two more touchdowns, one from Healey and one from Brian Scott, to open up a 27-0 lead.
In the second half it continued to dominate with the 35-point mercy rule eventually taking effect.
Hurricane coach Chris Homer was particularly pleased with the way his team finished the game.
"It was such a quick start I was little bit worried about a letdown. We kind of did that the first time we played, we got out 20-0 at halftime and really laid an egg in the second half," said Homer. "Our coaches did a good job, we were fired up and on top of them. By no means were we perfect."
Scott and Healey led the way offensively, finishing with 150 and 136 yards respectively, and two touchdowns each. Healey raised his state-leading rushing TD total to 22.
Hurricane finished the game with 422 yards of offense, compared to just 277 for Delta.
"It did help that we were bigger and stronger than them, I don't think there's any doubt," said Homer.
It was a disappointing result for a Delta team on an eight game winning streak heading into the semifinals after a 0-4 start to the season. One of those losses was a 20-8 setback to Hurricane in Week 2, but Thursday's clash wasn't nearly as close.
"I feel like we wore them down. We came out really physical and stopped them from doing what they do," said Nielsen. "Coming out and showing who was more dominant team at the start of the game was definitely what we wanted to do."5 comments on this story
Hurricane came within 79 seconds of its first shutout of the season, but Delta running back Hadley Myers spoiled that bid with a 10-yard rushing touchdown late in the game.
Even though some of his players probably want to play Juan Diego to avenge back-to-back title game losses to the Soaring Eagle, Homer doesn't believe it's that big a deal.
"It feels good to be back, and giving us another shot," said Homer. "It's a different group of seniors that don't really care about history. These guys want to make their own history next week."